Friday, September 9, 2011 - 11:38

Monty Don, presenter of BBC Two’s Gardeners’ World, is to front a radio appeal on behalf of an Eden project that boosts education for schoolchildren around the world through gardening.

The TV presenter and horticulturist will introduce the Gardens for Life programme on the BBC Radio 4 Appeal on Sunday, September 18.

Gardens for Life is an international network of school gardening projects created by the Eden Project with the aim of giving children the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience of growing with each other.

Thousands of pupils in the UK, Kenya, India and Gambia take part, creating school gardens that help them to explore the issues of food security, sustainable development and global citizenship.

Initially, training on how to set up school gardens is given to teachers in subjects such as compost preparation, water management and greenhouse construction.

Former Gardens for Life students are then encouraged to help other schools start their gardens and these schools in turn advise their local communities on how best to grow food.

In the radio appeal Monty will give the example of Munyaka secondary school in Kenya’s Rift Valley, where children grow spinach, kale, carrots, potatoes, maize and beans, helping provide their own lunch but also generating a surplus which helps to reduce school fees.

As a result of the Gardens for Life programme, enrolment at the school has increased by more than 50 per cent since the garden was established.

Monty said: “Gardens for Life offers children an international perspective on their problems.

“In a British school a typical garden pest is greenfly; in Kenya it could be an elephant that flattens your crops.”

Rob Lowe, Gardens for Life Project Manager, said: “We’re really pleased to have Monty Don’s support for our Radio 4 Appeal. I can’t think of anyone better to make the case for Gardens for Life.

“We know that Gardens for Life makes a real difference, and thanks to this campaign we will be able to make an even bigger difference.”

The Gardens for Life Radio 4 Appeal will be aired on Sunday, September 18, at 7.55am and repeated that evening at 9.25pm and again on Thursday, September 22, at 3.25pm.

The Radio 4 Appeal highlights the work of a charity and appeals for donations to support its work.

Anyone wishing to donate to Gardens for Life can either call 0800 404 8144 or write a cheque to the Eden Project, marking the back with ‘Eden Project - Gardens for Life’, and send it to Freepost BBC Radio 4 Appeal.

All money raised from the Radio 4 appeal will go to support Gardens for Life in schools in Africa.